I just felt pen had to go on paper today to tell you both I just could not believe that in 3 days, by myself, my PD10 (with 2 extra walls is fully assembled and functional in my garden. Let me itemize my delights.... The PD10 duly arrived at my door in a large wooden crate - indeed a Pandora's Box, but no ills within! It was protected outside and the various parts inside were extremely well padded. Unlike many [instruction] manuals that lay people have to read and digest and then discover hardly any of it makes sense......yours did! Every page was easy to understand, (plain English as we say here in England and I was able to follow and carry out the assembly without worry. The quality of the PD10 parts was superb. No jagged edges in this kit! (and I have dealt with fibreglass canoes for years, so I know what smooth edges should look and feel like.
I think of you often and wanted to say that things are going great with my PD-10 and DDW. I have saved so much time over the past year or so and find that my image taking is much better since being on a pier instead of the tripod. The equipment not only works reliably, it also looks really cool at the end of my driveway. My neightbors even think it is interesting and they often come over to look at it if they see me out during the day. Your ad with my picture in it was a great way for me to show people how popular this hobby has become.
It's been a few months since we finished it, but you can finally see our ProDome 10 atop our school's science building. We couldn't be happier with the result. The motors turn the dome smoothly, though I have yet to wire the electric shutter. Check out our Sewickley Academy web site.
My observatory consists of a Technical Innovations PD-10 dome mounted on three wall rings. The observatory houses a 10-inch RC and 4-inch Televue refractor mounted on a Paramount ME, with a pair of SBIG STL-11000M cameras. The observatory is also outfitted with Digital Dome Works, the observatory automation system sold by Technical Innovations. An in-dome computer is controlled by a laptop in my home. The observatory is connected to my house via an Ethernet cable directly into a wireless router, so I have the benefit of a high speed link to the observatory and the ability to control the observatory computer from my laptop operating wirelessly. As a result of the DDW automation package, I'm able to operate my observatory by remote control from the comfort of my living room. This enables me to perform complex tasks by remote control, such as a 100+ star alignment running unattended for three hours under Automapper II, or taking multi-hour CCD exposures. Digital Dome Works is extremely robust and reliable, and works perfectly with the Paramount ME. I also enjoy occasional visual astronomy, and find the PD-10 to be very comfortable for myself joined by several guests.
I'm glad to share some pictures of my 10' ProDome, which by the way is 10 years old this year! The HomeDome without a doubt has contributed more to my enjoyment of astronomy than any other equipment I own.
My wife and I purchased our PD-10 in 2003 to house a CGE-1400. I have used it trouble free since and can say that the dome has allowed me to be much more efficient with my observing. On nights that are marginal, or where there is very little time, I can still observe! If I did not have the dome, these observing opportunities would be lost. Another pleasure is being able to leave my CCD camera and telescope up continually. This allows for much greater efficiency as well. I like being protected from the win, and even dewing is not as much a problem. The dome also acts as a great light shield as it blocks the neighbor’s porch lights! It even shielded me from a black bear one night! The dome has withstood 50mph winds, torrential downpours, and heavy snows without a single problem. I can honestly say it has been one of my greatest astronomy investments.